Carper Introduces Legislation to Modernize, Enhance Public Water Infrastructure in Small and Disadvantaged Communities

CLEARR Drinking Water Act would authorize more than $1 billion to help small and disadvantaged communities improve the safety of drinking water

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) were joined by ten senators this week in reintroducing legislation that would authorize more than $1 billion to help small and disadvantaged communities replace contaminated water infrastructure to comply with Safe Drinking Water Act requirements.

The Contaminant and Lead Electronic Accounting and Reporting Requirements for (CLEARR) Drinking Water Act also directs the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to provide grants for community and research partnerships on drinking water contaminants, establish requirements for electronic reporting of water quality testing results and update the requirements for repeat- or serious-offender water systems.

“Every American in every community deserves peace of mind knowing that the water from their faucets is safe to drink,” said Senator Carper. “Too often, smaller or disadvantaged communities do not have the resources needed to upgrade drinking water infrastructure or to address harmful contaminants in their water systems. We’ve seen several cities and towns in Delaware struggle with this issue. This bill would increase funding for EPA’s Small and Disadvantaged Communities program to help update badly outdated water infrastructure in places that might otherwise never find the funding to do so. It’s one of the many ways that we in Congress can work together to better ensure safe drinking water for every American.”

“Skin color, neighborhood or net worth should never determine access to clean and safe drinking water,” said Senator Markey. We can eradicate the environmental contaminants of the 20th century by investing in infrastructure for the 21st century. Every community deserves to be free of lead and other drinking water contaminants that threaten public health. The CLEARR Act would provide funding for critical improvements with the latest electronic monitoring.”

A copy of The CLEARR Act can be found HERE.

The CLEARR Drinking Water Act would:

  • Increase the authorized funding levels for the Assistance for Small and Disadvantaged Communities program from $60 million per year through FY2021 to $230 million for FY2020 and $300 million each year for FY2021–FY2024
  • Provide advice and technical assistance to state and public water systems to help bring those systems into compliance with drinking water regulations
  • Establish requirements for the electronic reporting of water system compliance data
  • Require the head of the state agency that has primary enforcement responsibility for drinking water to notify the EPA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and appropriate state and county health agencies when a drinking water violation has the potential to have serious adverse effects on human health

Other senators co-sponsoring the legislation include Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.).